How important is your practice web site? According to a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 80 percent of internet users have searched for a health topic online. But just having a web site is not enough. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if your web site is making the grade:
Does your web site meet the needs of both current and prospective patients? What about referral sources?
Think of your web site as a relationship-building tool. It is often the first impression patients and referral sources have of your practice. Done properly, it can also be an ongoing resource for maintaining and strengthening those relationships. Your web site should include clear, concise information about not only your office and physicians but also the conditions you treat and the procedures your team performs. Consider a dedicated page for your referring physicians and keep it current with information and links they may need like current research, continuing education opportunities and printable PDFs about your office(s) that they can share with their patients.
Is your web site a true reflection of your practice and its unique brand?
Your web site should differentiate your practice from your competitors. It is an opportunity to stand apart. Highlight what makes you different, and be sure to talk about your practice in terms of the benefits you provide to your patients and referral sources. And because today’s patients are “prosumers” and increasingly turn to the opinions of others, include testimonials where patients share what they love most about your practice to help promote your “world of mouth.” Personalize your site — rather than stock photography, include photos of your team in action (it is more work but well worth the investment). And humanize your site by highlighting your practice’s community involvement or mission work.
Is your site current and dynamic?
This is not only important for generating return traffic, it also improves your search engine optimization (SEO). Include a blog and position your practice a leader and resource by posting timely health articles and tips as well as practice news and insightful articles on your physicians and team. Also be sure to prominently display any practice updates or changes in a timely manner so patients feel informed.
Is your web site welcoming?
Think of your site as an extension of your physicians and staff and the level of service you provide to your patients and referrals sources. Use language that is warm and conversational. Too often we see medical web sites that appear to be written in “keyword speak” to maximize SEO without paying attention to the needs of the user. It is possible to incorporate keywords and achieve strong SEO without making it awkward or impersonal for the reader.
Is your site easy to navigate so users can access the information they need when they need it?
Put yourself in the shoes of your users and then make your site intuitive. Think about what they need and when they need it. Provide several ways (links, buttons, navigation menus/bars) to access the same information from various pages. Be sure to include easy access to the most used information such as locations, phone numbers and patient forms as well as prominent buttons or links to your patient portal, online scheduling (if you offer it) and bill pay. When you list your locations, include more than just a link to Google maps. Also provide general location directions or landmarks to help with way-finding all the way to your door as well as information about parking if needed. Again, walk in the shoes of a new patient.
Does your web site humanize your physicians?
Think about how you can differentiate and make your physicians more than just their credentials. What makes each one unique? What are their individual stories? Allow your users to get to know them better. Express their personalities. Consider including brief video bios or physician interviews about why they chose to become a physician, what they enjoy most about their work, or what they do outside the office.
Is your site responsive?
Some people refer to this as “mobile friendly.” It is actually more than that. A responsive site adjusts to accommodate the user’s specific screen size, platform and device whether it be a computer, tablet or cell phone.
Here is a great medical web site that meets the mark: www.texasretina.com. Feel free to contact us if you want to learn more about how Medical Marketing Inc. can help improve your practice’s web site. Next time we’ll talk about social media.